The Baltimore House is a bar, nightclub and music venue located in Hamilton’s emerging entertainment district on King William Street.
With well-rounded programming often seven nights a week, concert listings of all genres and a cafe and tea room loaded with vintage video game consoles, The Baltimore House has been a staple of entertainment in Hamilton.
The past few months have come with whispers of the Baltimore House closing, but on March 3, the rumours were confirmed. Edgar Baltimore, an ominous Facebook profile run by owners Grant Winestock and Jimmy Skembaris announced that March 31 will be the Baltimore House’s final day in business.
The two owners agreed to close the business after their lives and priorities have changed.
The Baltimore House began as an idea in 2011, while Winestock and Skembaris were completing their undergraduate degrees. The duo were searching for a direction to take after graduation when they found the listing for 43 King William Street.
After securing loans and a couple of formal meetings, Winestock and Skembaris’ vision came to life.
“I loved being behind the scenes of things. In a weird way, I only felt comfortable at a party if I was throwing it; I loved the idea of being the Great Gatsby in that way. Jimmy was more outgoing and social. Together I knew we’d make a great team if we ever found something to combine forces on,” said Winestock.
Since then, the venue has been an integral aspect of Hamilton’s music community. Their programming, ranging from open mic nights, to specially curated concert listings, to eclectic dance parties, has never been anything short of fascinating. Several artists, promoters, and music enthusiasts feel that the Baltimore House is unlike other venues throughout Hamilton, functioning more so as a community hub than a music venue.
“We knew it could not last forever and we decide to walk away while we were still on top.”
The Baltimore House
“The Baltimore House is very a special place. I think everyone who has ever been there senses that,” said Kristin Archer, the blogger behind I Heart Hamilton and long-time supporter of the Baltimore House.
“There [is] something different about it. I’ve never been this attached to a space or had a bar/venue that felt like home to me. I’ll miss the space itself and the energy I get from it.”
Since the announcement of the closure, fans, artists and promoters have taken to social media to post about their favourite memories and to thank the Baltimore House for an exciting five and a half years in business.
Given this outpouring of support, it is clear that the Baltimore House will go down as a landmark within Hamilton’s music scene.
“I don’t know what we meant to the Hamilton music scene. To be honest, that’s up to everyone else to decide, but I can see now that we meant a lot to a lot of people in a very personal way, and that I think means the most to us,” said Winestock.
“In the end, it was a choice we decided upon together. No one forced our hand. We knew it could not last forever and we decided to walk away while we were still on top.”
The Baltimore House has exciting programming lined up for the rest of the month. It will have its final concert headline by U.S. Girls on March 24.
Weekly programming will resume as planned, culminating into a final goodbye dance party on March 31, giving Hamilton one last chance to personally bid the venue farewell.